On Saturday, January 27th, Frankfort’s Capital Plaza Hotel will be overrun with aliens from outer space and invaders from the Underworld. The Dead will be Walking again; Wonder Woman will hook up with Aquaman, and Harley Quinn will go up against her one-time ally and now arch-nemesis, The Joker.
And $20, the price of an admission ticket, will put visitors right in the middle of it all. Welcome to FrankfortCon 2024, the city’s comic and pop culture event.
Following in the footsteps of similar conventions in San Diego, New York, Denver, Dallas, Boston, Atlanta and Seattle, super- heroes and villains first descended on Frankfort in 2018 and proved to be a hit right out of the gate.
The initial success of the event in a smaller market was enough to convince organizer Carmine De Santo that Frankfort might just be the Geek Capital as well as the actual capital of Kentucky.
De Santo, who has organized similar events in Florida, New York and Canada, said after his first FrankfortCon, “we’ll be back for sure.”
Back it is – and with a vengeance. FrankfortCon is the city’s ultimate collector convention spanning multiple genres from comic books, magazines, artwork, apparel and toys to video games, television, movies and records to pop culture, animation, anime, sci-fi and fantasy.
All of this sounds very Seattle or San Diego, but Frankfort? Just what made De Santo zero in on a smallish southern town in the first place?
Would you believe it was free pancakes?
“When I was a kid, my family would come to Frankfort for the Kentucky Derby,” he says.
“We always stayed at the Holiday Inn (now the Capital Plaza),” he continues, “and on the morning of the Derby we always went to the Governor’s Mansion for the free pancake breakfast.”
That memory stayed him, and while there won’t be free pancakes, Robin Antenucci, executive director of Frankfort County Tourism, says that judging from past convention attendance, several thousand people will again converge on the city for this year’s event.
“Naturally, we have a lot of local attendees,” she says, “but we also attract people from as nearby as Indiana and as far away as Minnesota.”
To what does she attribute FrankfortCon’s popularity?
“One thing is the affordability,” she says, “but mostly it’s a family-friendly event where people of all ages can put on costumes and pretend to be someone else for a day.”
In addition to channeling their inner Batman or Scooby-Doo, they can visit the vendor booths selling everything from vintage comic books to favorite action figures.
They will have an opportunity to meet and greet (and get an autograph or photo) celebrities such as comic book artist Frank Fosco, best known for his work on Savage Dragon, a super-hero police officer whose exploits take place in the Image Universe.
Fosco will be joined by actors Christopher Khayman Lee, who took on the role of the Red Power Ranger in the Power Rangers in Space, and actor/artist Matthew Atchley, known for his detailed illustrations across many forms of pop culture.
Not to be overshadowed by their male counterparts, female super-heroes will be represented in the person of actresses Ariel Shiu from The Mandalorian and Kentucky native Megan Chelf Fisher.
Their ticket allows attendees access to all the convention vendors, panel discussions, autograph sessions and photo ops with the celebrity guests (please note: panels are included in the ticket price, but an additional cost is incurred for photos and autographs).
There will also be a cosplay competition – so make sure that Catwoman or Ironman costume still fits – and a Super Smash Bros Tournament (go to frankfortcomiccon.com for details.)
Let your inner geek loose and head to the Capital Plaza Hotel for this year’s FrankfortCon.
Images by FrankfortCon